Real Estate

Our experienced Real Estate legal team regularly publishes articles and updates - the full list of publications appears below. These publications provide a snapshot of the latest legislation, court cases, policy changes and contentious issues affecting the property and real estate industries. If you'd like to be notified when we add new real estate publications to the site, please go to our subscription page to sign up for email alerts or, alternatively, you can subscribe to our RSS feed.

In our Guide to Investing in Australian Real Estate, Allens' real estate experts identify the primary legal and regulatory issues that overseas investors will face when considering real estate investment opportunities in Australia.

Read about Allens' track record in this dynamic area.

Real Estate Publications

  • Client Update: Withholding tax on the sale of Australian property by foreign residents

    19 November 2014

    Treasury has released a discussion paper on the proposal to introduce a non-final withholding tax on the disposal of 'taxable Australian property' by foreign residents. Partner Katrina Parkyn looks at some of the key areas of discussion.

    Read More
  • Client Update: Queensland property legislation passed (incl 20% deposit)

    10 September 2014

    The Land Sales and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014, which will streamline the sale of property in Queensland, was passed by the Queensland Parliament yesterday. Partner Alister Fitzgerald provides a brief recap of what this means.

    Read More
  • Focus: Australian landholder duty: avoid the pitfalls of an ever expanding duty base

    10 September 2014

    An increased focus on taxing indirect real property transfers has seen the 'land-rich' or 'landholder' duty rules expanded significantly over the years, resulting in far more transactions being liable to duty. One area in which the potential application of the expanded landholder duty rules can be easily overlooked (with potentially disastrous consequences) is transactions undertaken by foreign entities that indirectly (through a chain of entities) have Australian 'land' assets. Partner Katrina Parkyn and Senior Associate Jennee Chan report.

    Read More
  • Focus: Lend Lease Development - will the High Court be moved on what 'moves' the transfer?

    8 September 2014

    When it comes to assessing duty on land transfers, identifying what constitutes the consideration for the transfer is a key issue. In Lend Lease Development Pty Ltd v Commissioner of State Revenue, the Victorian Court of Appeal decided that certain 'development contributions' made by a purchaser to a vendor did not form part of the consideration that 'moved' the transfer of land to the purchaser. Taxpayers that have relied upon this decision to determine the stamp duty implications of similar arrangements should be aware that case has been appealed to the High Court. Partner Katrina Parkyn, Senior Associate Marc Johnston and Associate Jay Prasad report on the practical aspects of the case and whether it applies more broadly to any arrangement where a taxpayer pays other amounts to a vendor in addition to the price to acquire dutiable property.

    Read More
  • Focus: New planning legislation for Queensland's development

    18 August 2014

    The latest component of the Queensland Government's planning reform package has been released. The draft Planning and Development Bill aims to facilitate Queensland's development by balancing economic growth, environmental protection and community wellbeing. Special Counsel Rosanne Meurling and Senior Associate Anna Vella report.

    Read More
  • Focus: Queensland Government's state land reform proposals

    25 July 2014

    The Queensland Government plans a major reform of the state land system, to streamline processes, reduce regulation and improve service delivery. Partner John Beckinsale reports on the possible reforms, which are outlined in a recently released discussion paper.

    Read More
  • Client Update: New infrastructure charges, environmental offsets and regional planning regimes commence in Queensland

    17 July 2014

    New frameworks for infrastructure planning and charging, environmental offsets and regulating activities in 'areas of regional interest' have now commenced in Queensland. Special Counsel Rosanne Meurling, Senior Associate Michael Zissis and Associate Julieane Bull report on how the reforms may affect you.

    Read More
  • Client Update: Business as usual after state and territory budgets handed down

    26 June 2014

    All of the states and territories have now delivered their budgets for the coming financial year. Although there are no major changes to state and territory taxes, there are some minor changes in each jurisdiction. Partner Katrina Parkyn and Lawyer Scott Lang report on the notable developments for business and industry.

    Read More
  • Client Update: More (good) Queensland property law changes (inc. up to 20% deposits!!)

    4 June 2014

    Further amendments to existing property legislation that aims to streamline the sale of property, particularly in respect of the sale of 'off-the-plan' lots have been introduced into the Queensland Parliament. These amendments will be of substantial benefit to developers. Partner Alister Fitzgerald, Senior Associate Annabelle Aland and Lawyer Lucy Woodruff report on the major changes.

    Read More
  • Focus: Final version of Metropolitan Planning Strategy released

    23 May 2014

    Following consultation and feedback, a final version of the Metropolitan Planning Strategy, known as Plan Melbourne, has been launched. While the focus of Plan Melbourne continues to be on employment cluster locations and urban renewal opportunities, there is also a renewed focus in the final document on key Government infrastructure projects - the East-West road project and the Melbourne Rail Link project. Special Counsel Meg Lee reports.

    Read More
  • Client Update: Rural leasehold in Queensland now more attractive for investors

    21 May 2014

    New legislation in Queensland that implements a range of reforms for leasehold land has been passed (and will commence on a day to be fixed by proclamation). The reforms will provide greater security of tenure for rural leaseholders, and are likely to make such leases more attractive to investors. Partner John Beckinsale and Senior Associate Annabelle Aland report on the main changes.

    Read More
  • Client Update: 'One stop shop' environmental approvals a step closer in Queensland and NSW

    19 May 2014

    A 'one stop shop' for Commonwealth and state environmental approvals in Queensland and New South Wales is a step closer with the release of draft Approval Bilateral Agreements. If implemented as planned, Queensland and New South Wales will each become responsible for assessing and approving projects for the purposes of both state and Commonwealth environmental legislation. Partner Bill McCredie, Special Counsel Philip Murray and Senior Associate Gobind Kalsi report.

    Read More
  • Focus: Changes to infrastructure planning and charging in Queensland

    14 May 2014

    A new infrastructure planning and charging framework for Queensland has been proposed by the State Government. Special Counsel Rosanne Meurling and Senior Associate Michael Zissis report on the changes to be introduced by the new framework.

    Read More
  • Client Update: Property Occupations Act passed

    7 May 2014

    New legislation that deals with property transactions in Queensland will have major implications on the sale process of residential property and the licensing of agents. Partner Alister Fitzgerald and Senior Associate Annabelle Aland report on the main changes.

    Read More
  • Focus: Productivity Commission - third party litigation funding and contingency fees

    17 April 2014

    The Productivity Commission's draft report on its inquiry into Australia's system of civil dispute resolution has now been released. The comprehensive review focuses on ways to constrain costs and promote access to justice. One of the areas the Productivity Commission is examining is Australia's private funding for litigation regime, focusing on third party litigation funding and contingency fees. Partner Peter O'Donahoo, Senior Associate Tim Maxwell and Lawyer Simone Kaser report

    Read More
  • Client Update: Release of 3rd Edition Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations

    10 April 2014

    The ASX Corporate Governance Council has released the 3rd edition of its Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations. Although the 3rd edition largely reflects the amendments proposed in the earlier consultation draft released in August 2013, a number of new amendments have been added that will have implications for listed entities' corporate governance practices. Partner Robert Pick and Senior Associate Hannah Biggins discuss these key changes.

    Read More
  • Client Update: Vendor's IM - Get it wrong, pay the damages bill

    8 April 2014

    A recent Federal Court case has reinforced that if a vendor's information memoranda is inaccurate, disclaimers won't save the vendor and the contract can be terminated or a substantial damages judgment awarded. Partner Alister Fitzgerald and Senior Associate Jaelle Berkovits examine this important decision and its impact on commercial sales.

    Read More
  • Focus: Significant changes to Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal powers

    26 March 2014

    New legislation will implement significant changes to the administration of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal in a bid to improve efficiencies. Special Counsel Meg Lee and Lawyer Katherine Kirby discuss the key changes to VCAT's powers in the context of its planning jurisdiction.

    Read More
  • Client Update: Strata title reform in NSW - potential impact on developers

    7 March 2014

    The NSW Government's proposed reforms to strata title laws may impose greater obligations and costs on developers that could be passed on to buyers, adding pressure to property prices. The NSW Government's view, however, is that these impacts will be offset by a reduction in disputes. Partner Nicholas Cowie and Senior Associate Sharon Heffernan look at the key proposed reforms.

    Read More
  • Client Update: Streamlining the regulation of environmental offsets in Queensland

    25 February 2014

    Legislation recently introduced into the Queensland Parliament will establish a new regime for the provision and regulation of environmental offsets in Queensland. Partner Bill McCredie, Special Counsel Rosanne Meurling and Lawyer Julieane Bull report on the key changes and identify some matters yet to be addressed.

    Read More
  • Client Update: Qld property law review - issues papers 1 and 2 (seller disclosure and lot entitlements)

    13 February 2014

    The Queensland Government is conducting a major review of property law. Partner Tony Davies* and Senior Associate Annabelle Aland report on two issues papers that have been released to help stakeholders contribute to the public submissions process.

    Read More
  • Client Update: Update on the new costs rules in the Queensland Planning and Environment Court

    12 February 2014

    A recent Queensland Planning and Environment Court decision sheds light on the application of the new rules for awarding costs following a trial. Special Counsel Rosanne Meurling and Lawyer David Thorpe consider the recent judgment and provide an update regarding the implications for parties to proceedings.

    Read More
  • Focus: Victoria implements new planning regime for native vegetation clearing

    24 January 2014

    Following on from our report in June 2013, reforms to the Victorian planning scheme provisions controlling clearance of native vegetation have now been implemented, through Planning Scheme Amendment VC105. Special Counsel Meg Lee and Lawyer Katherine Kirby outline the new regime.

    Read More
  • Focus: High Court upholds Willmott decision - liquidators may disclaim leases

    5 December 2013

    The High Court has held that a liquidator may disclaim a lease that a company had granted to a tenant, leaving the tenant to prove for any loss in the winding up. This decision clarifies the scope of the liquidators' statutory power of disclaimer. It highlights risks for tenants and for financiers taking security over tenants' interests in leasehold property, and may have wider implications for parties relying on property rights against a company in liquidation. Partner Matthew Whittle and Senior Associate Rebecca Collins report on the decision and its potential implications.

    Read More
  • Client Update: Queensland consolidates state interests in land use planning and development

    3 December 2013

    The release of the State planning policy is another milestone in Queensland's planning reform agenda. It consolidates ten existing policies into a single document, which presents a consistent and coherent statement of the State's interest in land use planning and development. Special Counsel Rosanne Meurling and Senior Associate Michael Zissis look at the detail of the new policy.

    Read More
  • Client Update: NSW Retail Leases Act under review

    3 December 2013

    The New South Wales Government is reviewing the Retail Leases Act for a number of reasons, including the emerging online sales market and its effect on retailers in general. Special Counsel Christine Adamson reports.

    Read More
  • Client Update: Status of electronic conveyancing

    29 November 2013

    Since the passing of the original electronic conveyancing legislation in NSW, various states and industry participants have moved towards a national electronic conveyancing process. Partner Victoria Holthouse and Senior Associate Sharon Heffernan look at the status of the national roll-out.

    Read More
  • Client Update: NSW Planning Bill 2013 - Amended Bill stalls in Parliament

    28 November 2013

    Partner Paul Lalich and Senior Associate Trent March have been monitoring the progress of the Planning Bill 2013 through Parliament and report that the NSW Government has today deferred the debate until early March 2014.

    Read More
  • Client Update: One year on ... the new costs rules in the Queensland Planning and Environment Court

    27 November 2013

    One year has passed since the rules for awarding costs in the Queensland Planning and Environment Court were fundamentally changed. Special Counsel Rosanne Meurling, Senior Associate Michael Zissis and Lawyer David Thorpe discuss how the court has applied the new rules and the implications for parties to proceedings.

    Read More
  • Client Update: PAMDA out, Property Occupations Act in!

    22 November 2013

    New property legislation in Queensland will significantly simplify the sale process for residential property and licensing of agents, and will be welcomed by the development industry. Partner Tony Davies reports.

    Read More
  • Focus: The NSW Planning Bill - Part III - infrastructure and development contributions

    30 October 2013

    In this third of our four-part series of articles providing commentary on the anticipated future direction of the NSW Planning Bill 2013, Partner Paul Lalich and Senior Associate Trent March discuss the infrastructure and development contributions regime proposed under the Bill.

    Read More
  • Focus: New authority launched and draft metropolitan planning strategy released

    22 October 2013

    The Victorian Minister for Planning has released a draft of the State Government's 40-year plan for Melbourne and, at the same time, has launched the new Metropolitan Planning Authority that is charged with implementing the plan. Special Counsel Meg Lee and Lawyer Will Duffy review the key features of the plan and the authority.

    Read More
  • Focus: The NSW Planning Bill - Part II - development assessment

    14 October 2013

    We recently published the first of four articles providing commentary on the current and anticipated future direction of the NSW Planning Bill 2013. In this Focus, Partner Paul Lalich and Senior Associate Trent March discuss the proposed development assessment procedures provided for in the Bill.

    Read More
  • Focus: The NSW Planning Bill - Part I - strategic planning

    3 October 2013

    In response to more than 4500 submissions to its new planning regime, as delineated in the White Paper - A New Planning System for NSW - and an exposure draft of new legislation, the NSW Government has deferred the introduction of the Planning Bill 2013. In the first of four articles that will look at various aspects of the Bill, Partner Paul Lalich and Senior Associate Trent March discuss the response of the public and industry on the current and likely future composition of the strategic planning framework provided for in the Bill.

    Read More
  • Client Update: Victoria gets smarter with fast-tracked VicSmart planning process

    11 July 2013

    Planning Minister Matthew Guy has released a discussion paper, together with draft regulations and planning scheme clauses, that sets up a proposed new assessment process for simple, straightforward planning applications. VicSmart applications will be exempt from notice, referral and appeal processes and require that a decision is made by the local Council Chief Executive Officer within 10 days from the application being lodged. Special Counsel Meg Lee takes a closer look at the details of the proposal.

    Read More
  • Client Update: Queensland courts - 'We can work it out' (the Land Sales Act)

    28 May 2013

    A recent Queensland Court of Appeal decision held that a purchaser of an off-the-plan lot who was in default under a developer's contract could not terminate the contract under the sunset provisions of Queensland's land sales legislation. Partner Tony Davies and Consultant Professor Bill Duncan examine the decision, which is significant because of the willingness of the courts to be pragmatic when looking at such provisions in the light of their use by unmeritorious purchasers.

    Read More
  • Focus: Less flexibility in off-the-plan contracts in Victoria

    24 May 2013

    The Victorian Court of Appeal recently held that off-the-plan contracts of sale in Victoria must specify a fixed date by which the plan of subdivision must be registered. As a result, any mechanism in the contract that allows the date to be extended is likely to be invalid. Partner Michael Graves and Lawyer Tim Chislett report.

    Read More
  • Client Update: Queensland land law changed

    21 May 2013

    As part of the Queensland Government's focus on reducing red tape, amendments to the State's land legislation will limit the involvement of the Department of Natural Resources and Mines in approving various land dealings. A number of other important changes will be implemented, with the aim of streamlining current processes and providing greater certainty to property and infrastructure owners. Senior Associate Liam Chambers and Graduate Tegan Ayling report.

    Read More
  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    17 May 2013

    We report on union eligibility rules; what constitutes an offer of acceptable alternative employment; the consequences of an employee's refusal of a settlement offer; an ATO ruling on ordinary hours of work; and whether a complaint about employment made to an employer can constitute a 'workplace right'.

    Read More
  • Focus: Vietnamese retail industry reform offers greater foreign investment opportunities

    15 May 2013

    Major reform of the Vietnamese retail industry will likely provide greater opportunities for foreign investment in one of the most attractive investment destinations for global retailers. Partner Robert Fish, Senior Associate Linh Bui and Lawyers Chi Ha and Mai Loan Nguyen report.

    Read More
  • Focus: Zone reform offers new opportunities in Victoria

    10 May 2013

    Sweeping changes to the Victorian Industrial and Commercial zones present opportunities to developers, who will be able to seek out suitable new sites on a broader range of land. Special Counsel Meg Lee looks at the detail of the new controls.

    Read More
  • Client Update: Queensland Government land holding review

    1 May 2013

    In its response to the 'Costello audit', the Queensland Government has signalled that it will look to rationalise its existing asset base. Partner Tony Davies and Senior Associate Anna Vella look at the Government's response to the review with its focus on under-utilised state assets.

    Read More
  • Focus: New EU financial disclosure requirements for resources and logging sectors

    24 April 2013

    Companies listed in the EU and large private companies in the EU that operate in the extractives and logging industries will need to report on payments made to host governments, both on a country and project basis, under a new EU legislative proposal that is part of a trend towards improving transparency in the extractives sector. Compliance costs will be significant and companies need to start preparing now, as Partner Anthony Patten, Senior Associate Dora Banyasz and Lawyer Raquel Dos Santos report. 

    Read More
  • Focus: Softening the investment rules in Mongolia

    23 April 2013

    Foreign investment in Mongolia fell away dramatically after the Mongolian Government last year introduced laws regulating foreign investment into strategically important business areas as well as investment by state-owned entities. Now the Government has introduced amendments which soften some of those restrictions in an effort to again encourage inbound capital. Lawyer Anthony Lepere looks at the amendments and their significance to foreign investors.

    Read More
  • Focus: US Supreme Court reins in scope of Alien Tort Claims Act

    19 April 2013

    In the much-awaited decision of Kiobel v Royal Dutch Petroleum Company, the US Supreme Court has determined that the Alien Tort Claims Act cannot be used to bring claims for alleged violations of customary international law where the relevant conduct occurs outside the US. The court remained silent on the question of whether corporations can be held liable for breaches of customary international law under the statute. Partner Louise Jenkins, Senior Associate Dora Banyasz and Lawyer Freya Dinshaw report. 

    Read More
  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    19 April 2013

    We report on the clarification of when an 'arrangement' could meet the transfer of business test; changes to the Fair Work legislation; under what circumstances a termination payment is a genuine redundancy payment; issues when seeking to stay a reinstatement order; and policy requirements for avoiding vicarious liability for an employee's unlawful sexual harassment.

    Read More
  • Focus: Security of payment - mixed messages

    18 April 2013

    The Queensland Supreme Court has further clarified the requirements for payment claims under the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act, sending mixed messages to the wider construction industry. Partner Ren Niemann and Lawyers Matt Thomas and Goran Gelic report on this decision and its implications.

    Read More
  • Focus: High Court broadens the reach of proportionate liability defences

    5 April 2013

    In its first decision addressing proportionate liability in detail, the High Court has suggested a relatively broad approach to identifying 'concurrent wrongdoers'. This will be welcomed by professional advisers and their liability insurers. Partner Andrea Martignoni, Senior Associate Andrew Byrne and Lawyer Sally Keenan report. 

    Read More
  • Client Update: Bank guarantee - to draw down or not draw down

    3 April 2013

    Landlords will be comforted by a recent decision in the Victorian Supreme Court that held that a tenant could not prevent a landlord dealing with money drawn down under a bank guarantee. Partner Tony Davies and Law Graduate Carissa Smith report.

    Read More
  • Client Update: ACT registration of leases referring to trusts now allowed

    3 April 2013

    An issue for Australian Capital Territory landlords, of not being able to register leases involving trustees, even where the lease simply includes a limitation of liability clause, is now resolved. Special Counsel Christine Adamson and Law Graduate Tegan Ayling report.

    Read More